The Black Mamba Love Is On My Side Portugal Eurovision 2021

The Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — is reviewing and rating the 39 competing songs in Eurovision 2021. Next we take a look at Portugal where The Black Mamba has “Love Is on My Side”. Did we feel the love? Read on to find out!

The Black Mamba – “Love Is on My Side”

“Love Is on My Side” reviews

Jonathan: There’s something really comforting about “Love Is on My Side”. When it comes on, I just let it play in the background and this warm feeling washes over me as The Black Mamba help remind me that there’s more love than darkness in my life. That being said, I don’t see it being a massive standout at Eurovision. There are still 29 entries from this year that I would actively choose to hit play on (and crucially vote for) before “Love Is on My Side”. But when it does come on in the semi-final, I will enjoy the three minutes.

Score: 6.5

Jordi: One can close one’s eyes and distinguish that it’s The Black Mamba who is playing. The first verses are addicting, injecting jazz and warmth from the very start. But as the song progresses, my attention is lost and it feels like navigating in a never-ending circle. There is an undeniable outstanding voice quality and blues feeling. But overall, the song’s formula lacks a more dynamic melody. It’s very repetitive and the chorus kills the song. Pedro’s voice is golden. But I won’t voluntarily play this song.

Score: 3

Josh:  The song is a good consistent groove that maintains its mood all the way through, and the lyrics feel deeply personal. Lead singer Pedro has the x-factor — his unique voice and eccentric style are instantly eye- and ear-catching. I do worry that it may tend to get overlooked, due to its spot in the running order. It doesn’t quite give me an emotional reaction like some of these others, which is why I can’t score it as highly, but I think it also has the opportunity to do better than many think it will.

Score: 7.5

Pablo: For an entry that claims quite an origin story, “Love Is on My Side” is one of the blandest competitors of the year. Musically, it’s devoid of any grappling quality, be it an emotional tug at the heart or the capacity to replay. The lyrics do not project that depth, which leaves us with three minutes that feel like nothing’s going on, as we try to grasp something to salvage out of this. Portugal has a strong artistic identity, and it is a shame that the majority of the time they are not able to properly convey it with an interesting song.

Score: 1

Robyn: I’ve always thought Portugal shouldn’t be afraid to send an English language song to Eurovision — though this isn’t quite what I was expecting. But “Love Is on My Side” works. It’s a melancholic but also heartwarming song with a comfortingly old fashioned sound. Both the song and the group are slightly reminiscent of Austria’s ill-fated entry from The Makemakes, but as long as The Black Mamba don’t bring a burning fake piano to Rotterdam, they should do a lot better than nil points.

Score: 6

The Black Mamba – “Love Is on My Side” rankings

In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 jurors but only have room for five reviews. The remaining scores are below:

Antranig: 4

Calvin: 4.5

Deban: 3

Diego: 4.5

Erdi: 1.5

Esma: 6

Julian: 2

Kristín: 7

Lauren: 1.5

Lucy: 6.5

Luis: 2.5

Natalie: 1

Oliver: 6

Renske: 6.5

Ron: 3.5

Sebastian: 4.5

Tobias: 5

Tom: 6.5

William: 3.5

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 1 and a high of 7.5.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 4.32/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all our Eurovision 2021 reviews and rankings

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L’oiseau
L’oiseau
5 months ago

Nevertheless it brought a victory to Portugal in recent years that is more that can be said about Spain, for example

Stephanie
Stephanie
5 months ago

Unbelievable… You know what, my dear Portugees friends, this is a really good song and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. That’s all what I have to say.

Alex
Alex
5 months ago

i like it although i wish it wasn’t so repetitive.

The singer’s voice is very distinctive but for some it might be annoying as well.

They need to change the outfits though, they look better with normal outfits.

Doris
Doris
5 months ago

Still better than the overhyped MALTA !!!!!!!!!!!!

Sot
Sot
5 months ago

Unfortunately, I have to agree

Sot
Sot
5 months ago
Reply to  Sot

I disagree with the part of withdrawal though, I’m always sad when a country leaves, even for a year

Sot
Sot
5 months ago

Wiwi Juries’ current TOP 23 Ireland (7.7) Cyprus (7.45) Finland (7.34) Ukraine (7.32) Russia (7.18) Sweden (7.14) Greece (6.82) Croatia (6.75) Azerbaijan (6.57) Israel (6.45) Latvia (6.34) Belgium (6.16) (=) Czech Republic (6.16) Serbia (6.09) Albania (5.89) (=) Norway (5.89) Spain (5.34) Germany (5.14) Estonia (5.07) Austria (4.89) Denmark (4.84) (=) Slovenia (4.84) Portugal (4.32) My personal TOP 23 Greece (My 4th) Ukraine (My 7th) Belgium (My 10th) Finland (My 11th) Estonia (My 12th) Russia (My 13th) Serbia (My 14th) Cyprus (My 17th) Czech Republic (My 18th) Ireland (My 20th) Albania (My 25th) Azerbaijan (My 26th) Israel (My 27th) Austria… Read more »

Héctor
Héctor
5 months ago

I don’t know… if this came up in my playlist I’d probably let it play while I’m doing other stuff, though I’d never listen to it on purpose. I think this is because it flows smoothly but that can be boring too. It also feels a bit pretentious and cheesy. One could think its classiness may favour it but I believe it is way too classy and ordinary to outstand in that way. We should be aware, by the way, that we are talking about so they have to try it harder than other countries to received votes. Having all… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago

It’s the lyrics and the singer’s voice that really got my attention to begin with.The rest is history!

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
5 months ago

i don’t think this is too bad, it’s a tad flavorless for portugal’s full english debut at the contest but it manages to create a certain atmosphere. the live performance tho… chile i hope they improve

Sot
Sot
5 months ago

Correct me if I’m wrong but I thing we haven’t heard even an English sentence from Portugal ever again before Black Mamba (well, except for a few phrases which were already allowed when the contest forbade any language other than their mother tongue…)

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
5 months ago
Reply to  Sot

they had some bilingual entries in the early 00s but they were mainly in portuguese

Jake
Jake
5 months ago

You know what this song also has—it has been judged by a live performance by both a jury and the public which over 3/4 of this year’s entries have yet to prove themselves in a competitive setting. I was shocked it did enough to win given there was more accessible songs and more famous people to vote for at FdC—-but on some level, this broke out and surprised a lot of people.

Jake
Jake
5 months ago

I still believe this song can go either way—it’ll crash out quickly and we’ll never hear English from Portugal again or it’ll pull a Common Linnets and create a moment amongst the noise that will charm folks who see this as a professional band with a soulful voice and a great instrumental. I think there’s always a song that plays the “real song/real musicians” card with juries and this might be it this year. I don’t get the Make Makes comparison other than they both wear a hat—one was a rocking ballad from a host country the other is more… Read more »

Elsa
Elsa
5 months ago
Reply to  Jake

I totally second you. That was actually what happened at FdC. They stood out in the midst of better songs because they performed professionally and almost flawlessly. They are stage animals. So it is possible for them to qualify.

Jonas
Jonas
5 months ago

Silver star.

Fjist
Fjist
5 months ago

I miss Bernardo. Where’s Bernardo guys?

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
5 months ago

Same opinion as most: Good singer, good style, good story, but it’s not a song I like to listen to. The problem is largely the Chorus, which is not on their side. Sorry.

Safiya
Safiya
5 months ago

I like the singer’s voice, I like their style, I like the story… I would really like to like this song but I just don’t really feel it.

Tom
Tom
5 months ago

Looking at the Eurojust votes Portugal can surprise this year. Wiwi voting its all the same every year, boring fanwank.

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
5 months ago

It looks like this time around I will be the one defending Portugal, and that’s fine. I really like this song. It’s a lovely pop soul ballad with a grain of psychedelia and one of, if not the darkest lyrics of this edition. I can’t quite put its atmosphere into words, it is something between ‘grandiose’ and ‘restrained’, perhaps plain old ‘classy’ would be the best way to describe it. The song relies solely on a seemingly simple, yet indelible melody and a gloriously antiquated instrumentation, which is always a delightsome breath of fresh air at Eurovision. “Love Is On… Read more »

maria
maria
5 months ago
Reply to  Skiwalko

So eloquently put! Thanks for this comment!

pooky1001
pooky1001
5 months ago

I think this could qualify from semi 2. I can certainly see the juries liking the professional performance they will give and im certain the live vocal will be spot on. Switzerland, France and UK all voting in this semi with large Portuguese communities and then Spain voting also so i think it could pick up a few decent votes. Personally i like it, i love his voice, i love the message of the song and i would be happy to see it in the final.7.5/10

Colin
Colin
5 months ago

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. 🙂

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago

I can see why this is so low-rated, but there are a couple of things that may help it stand out: Tatanka’s distinctive vocals and its great instrumentation. They can concentrate the votes of a very specific audience in search for a more respectable acoustic sound. The lyrics are pretty, though they only clicked with me when I learned the story behind them. The real problem is how the song never takes off. I would love to see the same elements paired with a stronger hook and an explosive climax. 6/10

Colin
Colin
5 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I had a hunch that you would be kinder to it. I appreciate the intended sentiment, but this plods so much it never captures my attention. I think that Tatanka has an unique, lovely voice, but also believe that these vocal acrobatics don’t blend well with a song this subdued and low-key in virtually every other aspect. Sorry. 🙁

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago
Reply to  Colin

There’s no need to be sorry, different people have different tastes and criteria. 🙂 Also, I’m far from being this song’s biggest fan, it was a borderline qualifier from me in its semi of FdC and I was shocked when it ended up winning the whole thing. But I won’t lie that I think most low grades here have been very exaggerated.

Danes
Danes
5 months ago

I feel like I’m in the vast minority to say that I really enjoy this song. I love that the instrumentals dare to go outside the classic major-minor chords and add in dominants and diminished chords to express the song further. There are definitely worse lyrics than this song this year. I often pay large attention to the lyrics of each song, because I think they are really important to elevate the song’s meaning and message. This song does so decently. To me, it’s pretty mesmerizing, and it’s grown on me lots since it came out. Definitely in my top… Read more »

Una
Una
5 months ago

I had other songs in this year’s FdC among my favourites. That said, “LIOMS” is the goup’s song. I appreciate the effort and the impetus and the soul. My kind of artists 100%. I wish them the best in the contest!!

Michael Green
Michael Green
5 months ago

I can relate with the ones that are not supporting the Portuguese song, myself I couldn’t believe when it won and I was really mad and furious. But meanwhile in this state I learn to enjoy the song since Tatanka sings the chorus in a different way every time so it’s now a pleasure to hear among all the other songs in spotify. I even like to hear between Technicolour and Dark Side. And I’m hoping for the final as borderline.

Last edited 5 months ago by Michael Green
NickC
NickC
5 months ago

Sorry guys, but this is severely underrated. It will be a jury darling and shock everyone in Rotterdam

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago
Reply to  NickC

Some people believe Austria will be the one the jury will try to push “against the wishes of the televote”, I think it can be Portugal. I just don’t know if it will be enough.

NickC
NickC
5 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I say both

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago
Reply to  NickC

In that case, it would be terrible for both countries, because both need a huge jury support, I don’t see the televote giving them much love.

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I don’t expect a big divide between jury and televote in this particular semi. We’ll probably get a top five that’ll receive all the love from juries and audience, and then we’ll have around seven songs competing for the last five spots and five songs that have no chance at all. Question is, who will be in which group?

Sabrina
Sabrina
5 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

I also feel that we’ll have a very clear top 5 or top 6 in this semi. But I believe we can have some entries trashed by the juries and other ignored by the televote competing for the remaining spots, as long they get a big push from the opposite side. Being a middle ground entry here sounds like a good deal.

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Yes, there will be entries trashed by the juries, but I don’t expect them to be in the top five. In the first semi, on the other hand, we have clear televote and clear jury favourites, that’s why the overall competition will be closer – at least that is my prediction. 😉

Last edited 5 months ago by Tibor
Colin
Colin
5 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

I agree, but I still expect entries like Portugal and Austria somewhat surpassing entries like Poland and Denmark in the jury vote, while televote will be doing the opposite. I still think that all of them will have a tough time qualifying.

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago
Reply to  Colin

I agree, but none of these entries will be in the top five, and that’s what I expect: the jury support and the televote support will go overwhelmingly concentrate on five or six entries, and for the rest very small margins will decide.

Mr X
Mr X
5 months ago

Portugal 2,5/10 – next year again in Portuguese please

notyourtoy
notyourtoy
5 months ago

And what I felt listening to this song is that this feels like it is more than 5 minutes, while it is 3. In comparison with other songs which we don’t understand when did they finish

notyourtoy
notyourtoy
5 months ago

Another talented singer who gets wasted with a bad song…sigh Tatanka’s voice is really special and it’s obvious that he is very talented, but “Love is on my side” isn’t the best choice for him, especially at Eurovision, because very simply it’s powerless, something that makes it forgettable. Some people will admire it because it has some quality, but the majority will forgive it’s existence even after the semifinals. Actually, it isn’t the most forgettable song, which is Georgia’s one (I don’t even remember how it goes haha). I don’t see this going very far neither with the juries nor… Read more »

Darren
5 months ago

Agh Portugal, my dear Portugal. From the experimental yet culturally aware Conan Osiris that Europe unfortunately just didn’t get, Portugal have tried something different yet again, though not as impactful. The difference here is that they have entered a song in full English. I’ll miss the Portuguese language this year. Song wise, it’s nice, it’s like hotel residents bar music while your having your cocktail. Nice to listen to, a pleasure of 3 minutes, but unfortunately fails to stand out in a competitive field. Perhaps if it was in Portuguese, it may have a better shot, but unfortunately I don’t… Read more »

IPA
IPA
5 months ago

Despite all the negativity from everywhere – I shall go with my gut feeling the first time I heard Portugal’s entry. I love it! One of my top 3 this year (would probably had been my number 1 if France hadn’t gone with Voila)!

Emily
Emily
5 months ago

25) Portugal –

I agree with Jonathan on this one. Tatanka’s voice certainly isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it feels like a warm hug in amongst a bunch of uptempo numbers in this semi-final. Whilst I do have this as a qualifier, my prediction is that it probably won’t but it’ll be a nice surprise if it did. 6/10

Thanos
Thanos
5 months ago

29.Portugal: Not a great fan of his singing voice and also the song is not memorable. It gets some extra points because of the story behind the lyrics which is interesting. Also I miss the Portuguese language 🙁 .

Alo
Alo
5 months ago

I like this entry although it wasn’t my favorite from fdc(neither in my top 5), and I can see some path for it to go to the final mainly thanks to Tatanka’s voice. But for now the chances are not high and the running order doesn’t help.

Kate
Kate
5 months ago

Great voice but song is easy forgettable, still could qualify though

Colin
Colin
5 months ago

PORTUGAL – I am usually on your side when it comes to qualifying, Portugal. But maybe not this year. It’s not only that there were many better options in the selection, but also that this song isn’t that strong on its own. There are some aspects I find okay, like the pleasant melody. The lyrics try to tell a story of an underdog down on their luck, but stop halfway and then get stuck on a loop. I also don’t think that his vocal technique helps conveying emotions the song is going for. I would be okay with this playing… Read more »

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  Colin

“I am usually on your side” – nice pun, if intentional 🙂

Kristian
Kristian
5 months ago

I appreciate that the vocal is great . The song is too non-chalant for my liking. Nothing to keep me invested for 3 mins. Also the expressions that he makes while singing makes me laugh/cringe(Watch the NF performance with no music ) . However , his vocal might put him in the Jury Top 10. Televote is unlikely to go for this. Overall , it’s borderline with less likelihood to make it.

3.5/10

Tibor
Tibor
5 months ago

It’s perhaps a good sign that Portugal for the first time since 2017 isn’t part of my top five this year. I am still disappointed about the results of Festival da Cançao, but on a personal level it’s kind of a relief not to feel obliged to be nervous for The Black Mamba this year. I would call this entry a blues, I don’t know if that’s accurate, because it’s not my kind of music at all, it’s a throwback American sound, so evergreen that I couldn’t even tell when it had its peak in popularity. As for Doredos in… Read more »

Kosey
Kosey
5 months ago

38. Portugal – The Black Mamba – Love is on my Side – 3/10 – But maybe not tonight and probably not ever unfortunately. I can appreciate the conviction in wanting to create an ambiance (which they achieve) and the attempt to shine a light on a different type of story, but the ambiance is all wrong for Eurovision and the song doesn’t offer any new insight into the terrible plight of many sex workers. The one thing this song does deserve a prize for though is plodding. It just doesn’t go anywhere. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bye. The aesthetic… Read more »